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Tell Us The Album That Changed Your Life

A woman in a cardigan holds a pen, holding open a gatefold vinyl record album with her other hand. She looks at the camera. A young woman stands behind her, near a pile of record albums. A sign in the background reads "You lucky video owner you." An obscured sign behind the woman indicates that Kate Bush has a new album.
British pop singer Kate Bush signs her album "Never Forever" at London's Virgin Megastore on Sept. 12, 1980.
(Chas Sime
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Hulton Archive/Central Press/Getty Images)
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What’s the album that changed your life? That’s the question KPCC’s AirTalk asked listeners and NPR music critic Ann Powers last month. You can share your own answer below.

One of Powers' picks: Kate Bush’s The Dreaming, which she calls “wild and experimental.”

“For me, it showed what a woman could do as an artist,” Powers said. “You could defy every stereotype, every limit. And that just changed my life, and opened up my own work … as well as my listening practices.”

Here are some of the other albums she chose:

  • 1999 by Prince
  • Achtung Baby by U2
  • The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
  • Bryter Layter by Nick Drake
  • Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes
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Two songs that particularly struck her: “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry and “Sprained Ankle” by Julien Baker.

A large image of a man with a slight smile is projected behind a stage. On the stage, you can see a silhouetted camera crew, a drum set, and a small group of men in suits. Below them on the ground level are a variety of people sitting and standing.
Musician Don Henley (3rd from R) of the Eagles accepts the band's 1977 Record of the Year award for "Hotel California" onstage from National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Neil Portnow (2nd from R) and broadcast producer Ken Ehrlich (R) during the 58th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 15, 2016 in Los Angeles.
(Kevork Djansezian
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Getty Images for NARAS)

We also heard from listeners on AirTalk; here are some of the comments they shared with us:

Eamon in Inglewood: “I’m from the West of Ireland. It rains there a lot, it doesn’t rain here. Hotel California [by the Eagles], even the album cover is spellbinding. The last line of the last song on the album says, ‘Call someplace Paradise, kiss it Goodbye.’ As you know, Paradise, California was involved in that awful fire a couple years ago. I always think about that line.”

Evelyn in Beverly Hills: “If you look past some of the language and examine the narrative message. I think [Tupac Shakur] was the greatest hip-hop artist of all time — far, far above Eminem. Better Dayz, the two-part album, is my personal favorite. It hits on not only the struggle of the Black community, but on the hopes of the future. Tupac delved into the real message and meaning of the hip-hop subculture. All Eyez On Me is another one. 2Pacalypse Now. … It’s hard for me to place which [of his albums] is my most life-changing. I was very much touched by his identification with his mother. I also admired how he addressed the issues of the youth at that time. He looked at the younger generations, and how things were affecting them, and spoke to that.”

A man on the left sits on a stool and holds a microphone; he has wild blonde fuzzed-out hair. To his right, a man with an acoustic guitar stands behind a mic stand. There are stage lights illuminating them from behind.
Simon and Garfunkel (L-R) singer, Art Garfunkel and singer-songwriter, Paul Simon, performing on ITV's "Ready, Steady, Go!," July 8, 1966.
(Hulton Archive
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Getty Images)

Here at LAist/KPCC, we asked our own staff about the albums that affected them. Some of the picks by folks around here:

  • Black Celebration by Depeche Mode
  • Continuum by John Mayer
  • Live Through This by Hole
  • In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson
  • Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too by New Radicals
  • Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Whitney: The Greatest Hits by Whitney Houston

Now's your chance to share your own answer.

Is there an album that changed your life?

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